As a Dungeon Master, I am always looking for great tools and resources to offer my happy band of murder-hobos an exciting and fulfilling adventure. I know this can easily be obtained by diving head first into the numerous official Wizards of the Coasts modules, box sets, and hardcovers. But I like to have fun with a good, old-fashioned “homebrew” one-shot campaign. Especially the ones from DMs Guild.
What is a One-Shot in D&D?
One-shot campaigns are something I like to use when the group is down a character or two, and we are trying to avoid a situation where they might miss the big bad guy we’ve been fighting toward. Or juicy, important lore and story that might have a major impact on the story later.
That’s where one-shots come in. They’re just like they sound. A D&D one-shot is a standalone adventure that can be run in (hopefully) a single session. Sometimes, it’s easy to come up with a one-shot idea:
“Oh, no! Goblin attack! They kidnapped a baby! We gotta go get it before it’s baby stew time!” That alone is enough to occupy a session.
However, if you have a hectic life, and you’ve drained your brain, even that’s hard to think of and carry out. If that’s you, you’re not alone. I, too, have found myself with 10 minutes to prepare a session and had a brain that couldn’t think of the word bugbear. That’s when I quickly turn to my favorite adventure source, Dungeon Masters Guild.
DMs Guild is Great
I have on several occasions gone there just to be able to create a fun and lively 2-4 hour adventure for a small group. They might start out deflated that we are skipping out on the main campaign, but when all is said and done, they come out the other side happier than a Bugbear in a berry bush.
In a mad scramble one day, I had nothing prepared and the journey was starting in 30 or so minutes and I needed a quick get-em-going module for our group. So i ran on to the DMs Guild and grabbed an adventure called The Crumbling Stair by Cameron Melka. It’s a simple little adventure, could be run in under two hours and inserted into any campaign setting pretty easily.
The beauty about stories like this one are that they are listed as Pay What You Want meaning you can pay as much or as little as you want to for the title (including zero dollars), with the author setting a “recommended price.”
Running my DMs Guild One-Shot
At the time I was obsessed with The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, a series of urban-fantasy novels about Harry Dresden, a wizard and gumshoed private investigator. My natural thought process, then, was to throw him into my existing world and have him be the quest giver of The Crumbling Stair. It worked perfectly.
The party took their time deciding if it was safe to descend the titular stairs, but by the time they got to the bottom, they were gung-ho to rid the world of the scourge that lay in its depths. (No spoilers about what that scourge is, though. You just have to run the adventure yourself!)
The brave heroes trudged through the magical dungeon that existed at the bottom of the stairs, withstanding every obstacle that Cameron Melka could throw their way. Eventually, they even overthrew the big baddy inside. Afterward, they climbed that same staircase back to the surface with a hoot and a holler and a promise of rounds of ale at the tavern.
It Was An Amazing Experience
This was an amazing experience for me and my happy band of murder-hobos that we would have missed out on had I not stumbled upon Dungeon Masters Guild. I love the sheer amount of user submitted content on there, everything from run of-the-mill high fantasy, an Among Us 5e adaptation, to some downright silly fan-fiction.
DMs Guild is without a doubt one of my go-to sites for settings, stories, and just all around fun for my adorable little ankle biting adventurers.
What are your favorite adventures and supplements on DMs Guild?